Eagles (-7 1/2) over WASHINGTON
Totally understand if you're shooting poison darts my way with the lousy overall NFL record, but my work on the Birds has been pretty consistent, and pretty much bank the last few weeks. Nailed the last two games, and have called the winner, against the spread, in four of the last five. So, you'll be happy to know that Double V is on the Green Machine tomorrow. And it's all about the matchup between Washington's offensive line allowing 53 sacks (second most in the NFL) vs. the Eagles defense that comes in with 47 sacks (second best in the league). Advantage: Birds. The last time that Chip Kelly went on the road after a two-game losing streak, it was gold. That was a stunning 49-20 blowout against the Oakland Raiders last season. The line on that game closed at pick 'em, but here the Birds need to cover a TD and a hook, so we're keeping this in the light to medium range.
Ravens (-5) over TEXANS
This is not just about who is playing QB for Houston, it's also about a couple of guys with gigantic chips on their shoulders. First, the Texans QB situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick, gone. Tom Savage, gone. Ryan Mallett, gone. So now Houston will turn to either Thad Lewis or Case Keenum. Don't care if they brought Sonny Jurgensen, Norm Van Brocklin or Jaws into the huddle, the Texans ain't gonna come close here. And you can put that on Gary Kubiak. After coaching Houston for nine years, Kubiak moved to Baltimore and is now the offensive coordinator for the Ravens. Also got the Justin Forsett chip. Forsett sat behind Arian Foster in 2012, but is now fifth in the league with 1,128 rushing yards. Don't be shocked if Forsett has a huge day, and the Ravens hang a huge bundle of points on the board and cruise to an easy W. I won't, because this is my Best Bet.
SAINTS (-6) over Falcons
New Orleans has a clear path to the NFC South crown and it'll start with a home W against Atlanta. Sure the Saints have struggled at home losing four in a row, but with Atlanta coming to the Dome, this is as close to a lock as you can get. We do not like the word lock, but the Falcs have won only three of the last 16 outside Atlanta, and have the worst pass defense in the NFL (292.5 yards per game), going against Mr. 4,000 yards, Drew Brees. Game, set, match to N.O.
Giants (+6 1/2) over RAMS
Why jump on the New Yorkers in this spot? Because Eli Manning has a new toy, his name is Odell Beckham Jr., and he is phenomenal. Not just that famous one-handed catch, but his numbers: 12 passes for 143 yards last week, and his 71 catches for 972 yards are pretty amazing considering he missed the first four games of the season. And St. Loo has big problems on its O line, which is a problem against this Big Blue D unit that has 22 sacks in the last three outings.
Seahawks (-8) over CARDINALS
Not thrilled laying eight, but this sets up to be an even bigger win for Seattle than the 19-3 W last month. Not sure what switch Pete Carroll turned after the 'Hawks lost to KC on Nov. 16, but man, they've been lights out! Four wins, four covers and a 79-27 bulge on the scoreboard. Arizona has averaged only 12.5 points per game the last four, and with Ryan Lindley at QB (1-3 with no touchdowns and seven interceptions in four career starts) it ain't gonna happen for 'Zona.
JETS (+10 1/2) over Patriots
Look at the scores of the last three games (NE 27-25, NE 13-10, NYJ 30-27; all three covers for New York), and you can see why we're backing Rex Ryan in what is sure to be his final home game at MetLife Stadium.
49ERS (-1) over Chargers
QB Philip Rivers has a cranky back, WR Kennan Allen is gone, and RB Ryan Mathews is a question mark. Gotta buy San Fran.
Colts (+3) over COWBOYS
Playing DeMarco Murray with the broken hand and some kind of cast might backfire on Dallas. Probably not what you wanna do against an Indy team that has 29 spread wins since 2012 with Andrew Luck calling the signals.
Vikings (+7) over DOLPHINS
Continue to like Teddy Bridgewater and the money-making run (7-1 vs. the spread) that Minny is on.
Packers (-11) over BUCCANEERS
Green Bay has a ridiculous 11-2 spread record in the game after a loss the last few years, with Rodgers at QB.
Lions (-8 1/2) over BEARS
Jimmy Clausen? Really? Against Detroit's D? Really? Looking for a donut on the Chicago side of the scoreboard.
STEELERS (-3) over Chiefs
A win over Oakland, the first in four weeks, did not impress me, so the Big Ben Brigade is my side at Heinz Field.
PANTHERS (-3) over Browns
Even if Johnny Football improves dramatically, he goes from no clue, to a little clue, to no win.
RAIDERS (+6 1/2) over Bills
Coming off that monster win against Green Bay, no way the Buffs get amped for a cross-country trip against the 2-12 Silver & Black.
BENGALS (+3 1/2) over Broncos